Our Family

Our Family

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 20

We had a busy week this week and some of the children feeling under the weather. Fevers, runny noses, sore throats, and coughing has been making it's way through the household. Next week will hopefully be a little calmer and have everyone recovered!

Week 20 in our Homeschool

P.E.: We did two days of yoga and one day of Family Time Fitness.

Bible: We finished the review questions of Grapevine Old Testament One.  Next week we will begin the Resurrection study.  One of my favorite parts of our Bible time this week was that Anthony and Christian were looking up the Bible verses in their new Faith Builders Bible and reading them aloud for everyone!  They never willingly read anything aloud!

Read Aloud: We read 3 chapters of C.S. Lewis Master Storyteller leaving us just one more to finish up.  I am undecided about what we will read next.

History: In The Mystery of History Vol IV Nick and Alex completed lessons 52-54 on Joseph Stalin Man of Steel, The Great Depression, and Mohandas K. Gandhi.  They added the timeline figures to the timeline, and completed the memory cards.  They also did the corresponding worksheets and had a mapping assignment on India.

Science: In Exploring Creation With Anatomy and Physiology Nick and Alex finished Chapter 12 The Integumentary System.

My Father's World Adventures: We are still reading through Farmer Boy. In the history portion we read about Eli Whitney and his cotton gin invention.  We learned about Tennessee in our state study. In the science portion we learned about what cells are and made a model of a cell using jello, grapes, and beans.

Math: Each child completed lesson 19 in their levels.  My 12 year old has started to struggle a bit with adding and subtracting mixed numbers.  I have told him that the level that he is in, Epsilon is the hardest book and that it will start to make sense as we keep working through it.

Grammar/Writing/Literature: We completed lesson 23 of Fix It! 1 and 2.  Alex will be finishing up his literature study of Farmer Boy this week.  Nick is still reading through Peter Pan.  Christian and Anthony did a key word outline and a paragraph about timid sheep.

Reading/Spelling: Alex finished lesson 17 in Phonetic Zoo.  No spelling for Anthony and Christian this week.  In AAR Level 3 they finished lesson 24.  In AAR Level One Lily finished lesson 44.

Horizon's Preschool: Emmie was sick a few days this week and did not do any school work.

Other Activities This Week:

Monday: Lily went to gymnastics.  Emmie was running a fever so she had to stay home.

Wednesday: We had Kid's Club.

Thursday: The children had a dentist appointment.  We drive an hour and 20 minutes each way to go to the dentist so we did not have school that day.  Lily had two cavities so we will have to go back in a few weeks and get those taken care of.  After the dentist we grabbed some lunch and went to Chuck E. Cheese.

Friday: We had our homeschool Valentine's Day Party.  4 of the children make boxes.  Lily's was a wedding cake, Emmie made Olaf, Christian made Steve a character from MineCraft, and Anthony made a pirate ship.  They did a great job with their boxes!

Saturday: I started stripping wallpaper in our upstairs hall bathroom.  I am never liked that wallpaper and will be so glad to see it go!! Getting it off the walls has not been so easy though!

So Lily was sick last weekend with fever, sore throat, and runny nose.  She is still coughing.  Emmie ran fever Monday and Tuesday morning then the fever broke but she still has a sore throat runny nose and cough.  Wednesday night Anthony had a sore throat but he is fine now.  Friday night Nick asked for Tylenol for a sore throat.  He is still not feeling fabulous and he never gets sick!  And last night Christian had a sore throat, so we stayed home from church today.

 I am thankful that it has been a minor illness and I am sure everyone will be better soon!

I hope you had a great week in your homeschool!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Review: Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook

In their original book, Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison explained their Trim Healthy Mama eating plan and shared many recipes with their readers. This companion cookbook contains more than 350 eat up and slim down recipes.  This cookbook is paperback and has 512 pages.  Suggested retail price is $27.99. In it you will find:

Crockpot Meals
Family Skillet Meals
Quick Skillet Meals
Family Soups
Quick Single Soups
Oven Dishes
Oven Baked or Roasted Meats
Extra Skillet Stuff
Family Salads
Quick Single Salads
Breads and Pizza Crusts
Good Morning Eggs
Good Morning Grains
Pancakes, Waffles, Crepes, and Donuts
Quick Single Recipes
Family Muffins
Quick Single Serve Cakes
Brownies and Cookies
Pie, Cheesecakes, and Cobblers
Sweet Bowls
Frozen Treats
Candies and Bars
All Day Sippers
Shakes, Smoothies, Frappas, and Thin Thicks
Hot Drinks
More Drinks
Chips, Crackers, and Dips
Condiments and Extras

You can purchase the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook here.

Check out the Trim Healthy Mama page here.

Read more about the authors here.

The Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook is packed full of recipes in a variety of categories.  It also has recipes that will work work for one of two people or that will feed a crowd.  The recipes are well written with easy to follow directions and there are color photos throughout the cook book.  In the front of the cook book you will find a brief introduction to the plan and explanations of some of the specialty ingredients, but it is recommended that you first read Trim Healthy Mama in order to get the most out of the book.

The biggest challenge to using the cookbook is that although they say that you do not need to go out and buy a lot of specialty ingredients (these recipes in the book are labeled NSI), many of the recipes do need specialty ingredients that may be hard to substitute especially if you live in a small town with only one grocery store.  Trim Healthy Mama sells the ingredients on their website. They do list a few ingredients that they feel are the best to start out with: on plan sweetener, Trim Healthy Mama Baking Blend, Pristine Whey Protein, and Just Gelatin but it will require a bit of an investment for even the basics.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC regulations.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Using All About Reading With Multiple Students

*this post contains affiliate links

One of the most important things that we need to teach our children is how to read.  It can also be the most difficult skill to teach.  Children are not made all the same and read and learn at different rates. They also have different ways of learning.  Some children learn by seeing, others, by hearing, others by doing, and some learn best using a combination of all of these.  Throughout all of my years of homeschooling and doing numerous product reviews, All About Reading still stands out to be my favorite reading curriculum and is the one that I stick with and continue to use with my children.
All About Reading is mutisensory so it suits multiple learning styles.  It is a mastery based curriculum with lots of review, and  is easy to teach.  The activities are fun and the readers are beautifully illustrated, hard cover, and have interesting stories.

In a homeschool setting, it is often easier on the homeschool mama if you can combine your children and teach them together.  Some subjects like Bible, history, art, science, and P.E. are really easy to use with multiple children.  Other subjects like math and reading is not as easy.  But if you have children that are very close in ability you can combine them.

All About Reading is not based on grade levels but abilities.  You can find placement tests on this page (scroll down to the bottom.)  My 8 year old and 10 year old are very close in reading ability, so we have always done reading and spelling together.  We started out back in Level One in AAR and have worked up to Level 3 currently.  Doing their reading lessons together has not only made things easier on me, but it encourages them as well and they enjoy doing the activities together.

So what does a typical lesson look like for us?  It will vary because some of the lessons have more teaching while others have stories to read, but I will describe our process.  The length of time we spend each day varies as well.

I have 2 different board we use for All About Reading.  A big board that hangs on the wall and holds all of the letter tiles.

And a small one that sits on the table that we use for our lessons.  Each board has the alphabet on it and I pull any extra tiles off the bog board and put it on the small board for the lessons.

In a regular lesson, we start out learning the phonogram that lesson focuses on.  All About Learning has a free phonogram app that allows students to hear all the sounds the letters make.  After listening to the sounds we continue on with the teaching portion of the lesson.

If we have cards to review, the boys take turns reading the cards.  Then I build the words on our small board for them.  They take turns reading the words that I build.  We do the same with the word cards.  Each boy reads 5 cards. Then the next day they switch and read the others.  They do the same with the fluency practice.  The first day they each read half of the sentences and the next day they switch and read the other words and sentences.

They play the games together.  Their favorite part!

And when it comes to reading out of the reader, they take turns each reading a page.

Working together has worked out very well for them and for me too.  I have to say though that if you have children that widely differ in reading ability, please do not try to combine them.  You will just cause frustration that way for them and for yourself.  I know in a homeschool it is very hard to find time to do all of the things that need to get done, but reading is so important.  Spend time (usually 30 minutes or so) working on multiple levels. I have used All About Reading with children who struggle in reading.  I have used it with a child who is mildly dyslexic (he by the way reads so well now!)  I have also used it with a child who reads above where she is "supposed to be" for her age.  If you work consistently and at their pace, you will see success!

Happy Homeschooling!

*links to AAR are my affiliate links.  I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually use and can recommend!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Favorite Recipes: Spaghetti Soup

We have soup on Sunday nights. Sometimes it is homemade, and sometimes it is out of a can.  I am always looking for new recipes to mix in with our tried and true ones. I tried this recipe out yesterday and thought it was really good.  It was also easy to make which is always a plus!

Spaghetti Soup Ingredients

1 lb ground beef (I actually used more than that and my meat was a mix of venison and ground beef)
1 small bag frozen mixed vegetables
1 can Italian diced tomatoes
28 oz of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 can of mushrooms (I left these out because the kids don't like them)
32 oz chicken broth
1 pound of spaghetti (I used much less than this.  1/4 of a box)
2 tsp Italian Seasonings
cheese of choice

Note: The original recipe called for 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons oregeno and 2 teaspoons basil but I left out the chili powder and substituted the other with Italian Seasonings.  The beauty of soup is that you can use whatever spices you like!

Also for those that are gluten free you can use a GF pasta in place of regular spaghetti.  Just make sure your other ingredients do not contain gluten.  It hides!


Brown your ground meat and then drain.  In a large soup pot add your chicken broth and frozen vegetables until tender.  Add in all of the other ingredients (including browned meat) except the spaghetti and cheese and simmer around 10 minutes.  While that is simmering boil a pot of water to cook your spaghetti in. Break the noodles into small pieces (I broke them into fourths) and cook according to directions.  Drain your noodles and add them into the soup simmering a few minutes more.  Ladle into bowls and top with the shredded cheese of your choice.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 19

Let's start with some pet photos just because!

These boys are my outside cats Lucky and Jack.  They are brothers and do everything together.
 Ana sits on the couch sometimes like a human would.  She is a crazy dog but so great with the kids!

Sally has decided that this box is hers and has been sleeping in it all week.  The girls thought she needed some friends.

Week 19 in our Homeschool:

P.E.: We did two days of yoga and one day of Family Time Fitness.

Bible:  We finished lesson 11 of Grapevine Old Testament One.  That was the last lesson.  There is a review section we will work on this week.  Then we will be moving on to studying the Resurrection.

Read Aloud: We read three chapters of C.S. Lewis Master Storyteller.

History: In The Mystery of History Vol IV we completed lessons 49-51 on Vladimir Lenin forming the U.S.S.R, The Irish Civil War, and Benito Mussolini and the Rise of Fascism.  We caught up the timeline figures from last week and this week and the memory cards.  The boys completed their corresponding worksheets and did a map assignment on Ireland and Italy.

Science: We finished the chapter on the senses in Exploring Creation With Anatomy and Physiology.

My Father's World Adventures: We continued on with reading aloud Farmer Boy.  We learned about Daniel Boone and the wilderness road.  In our state study we learned about Kentucky.  The science lessons had to do with science with air, but we have done the experiments before so we did not do them again.  We also started reading about Eli Whitney.

Math: Each child completed lesson 18 in their Math U See levels.  We had a few struggles at the beginning of the week with some of the new concepts in Epsilon and Delta, but by the end of the week the boys seemed to get a handle on it.

Grammar/Writing/Literature: We completed lesson 22 in Fix It! Grammar 1 and 2.  Alex is still working on the literature study on Farmer Boy in LLATL.  Nick started reading Peter Pan.  He wanted to skip it because he had listened to the audio book several years ago, but I told it it would be good for him to read it anyway.  Christian and Anthony did a keyword outline and wrote a paragraph on pigs.

Reading/Spelling: Anthony and Christian finished Step in AAS Level 2.  Alex finished lesson 16 in Phonetic Zoo.  In AAR Level 3 Anthony and Christian finished lessons 22 and 23.  In AAR Level 1 Lily finished lessons 41,42, and 43 .  I have to say again, that All About Reading is my absolute favorite reading program.  It has been amazing for all of my children that have used it.  For some children, reading will be easier than others, but because AAR is a multisensory program and you can progress at your own pace, any child can be successful with it.

Horizon's Preschool: Emmie had a couple of days this week where she just was not herself.  One day she had a bellyache, another day she skinned her knee and was very traumatized.  So she did not do much of her schoolwork.  She did do a page of phonics/writing and worked on making a fish.

Lily wanted to glue sequins on something too.

Other Activities this Week:

Monday the girls had gymnastics.

Wednesday we had Kid's Club.

Lily was Mary during the story.

Team work activity

Thursday we had the beeswax candle workshop.  I had not planned on doing any school that day, but because we left the workshop early when Christian wasn't feeling 100% after I dug the splinters out of his hand, we did do some work that afternoon.

Friday was a beautiful day.  We went and had lunch at the park with friends.  We also had to go grocery shopping and stopped by Sonic for some happy hour drinks.  After we had pizza that night, Lily started complaining of a sore throat and sure enough the next day was running fever.  She stayed home from church today with her daddy while the rest of us went ahead and went.  Fever is gone but she still doesn't feel great.  Hopefully it will pass quickly and not take anyone else down!

A couple more photos from this week.

We are reviewing a game called The Climbing Knights from Simply Fun,  They had a lot of fun with this game!

Christian has decided climbing trees in lots of fun.  Hopefully he will always be able to find his way back down!

When Lily does her back handsprings at gymnastics, she goes a little crooked.  So her teacher suggested that when she is practicing on the trampoline at home that she make a line to help her see where she needs to land.  She made herself several drawings and practices every single day.

Our ecosystem in a bottle sprouted!

I have several things that we either just got to review or will be getting in the next couple of weeks:

Grapevine Studies: The Resurrection
Simply Fun: The Climbing Knights
Heirloom Audio: The Dragon and the Raven
Zonderkidz:Faith Builders Bible
Memoria Press: 8th Grade Literature Guide Set
Logic of English:Essentials 2nd Edition

I hope you had a great week in your homeschool!

*link to AAR is my affiliate link.  I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually use and can recommend!